EF Education First Teachers

What advice does everybody have for learning Mandarin?

I know we have online classes at our disposal but due to time differences the classes are in the middle of the night. My current work schedule does not allow for me to attend regular classes or have a set time with a tutor each week so it looks like I'm doing this on my own. 

I am familiar with apps like Duolingo which definitely do help with building your vocabulary but aren't so helpful when it comes to grammar and useful phrases. I'd like to be able to survive in China not tell people "I am a girl, he is a boy". I've started looking at workbooks but there are just SO MANY!!! I have no idea which ones are good or bad. Maybe some of you have a particular book that you really enjoyed and found super helpful. 

I guess the question I'm really here to ask is how have you guys been learning Mandarin? What have been your biggest challenges and what are your best insider tips? 

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Comment by Olivia Seaton-Hill on August 24, 2018 at 6:54pm

I think you could be right, Simon, it's going to take a mixture of different approaches to get there. I may have to browse a few books at the store and pick one just to get me started at least. I never thought of using YouTube to help though so great shout, thanks!

Jymil - just checked out Pimsleur briefly. I haven't heard of it before but I can use it on my Alexa so I am SOLD! Will try out a lesson over the weekend and let you know how I get on. 

Comment by Jymil Hamilton on August 22, 2018 at 4:51am

I feel like the Pimsleur method is good, if you download Audible, funny I am about to cancel my subscription (I think) but I like it so far. Canceling bc Im tired of subscriptions surprising my bank account haha. But we shall see

Comment by Simon Paterson on August 21, 2018 at 3:46am

This guy has some pretty good suggestions!


Im trying out his top pick 'Anki 'at the moment with the 'Spoonfed Chinese' download and gradually building up some grammar! It is good cause it gives you phrases in audio and visual, giving you the Chinese and pinyin for everything allowing you try reading and to pronounce sentences yourself (make sure you look up on pinyin tones first though!). It also gives new phrases daily (as well as going over pre-learned ones) meaning it helps you build up gradually. Being using it for about 3 weeks and I now have some familiarity with asking questions and things. Its all free too!

Only downside is it doesn't always focus on useful stuff straight away and doesnt really explain the sentence structures very well, i would use it in conjunction with something else ( i like to watch youtube vids based on the words that came up and have an audio listening/speaking CD to practice too)).  all helps though!


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